Binge Watch: Black Mirror
People in the UK must get a real kick out North Americans exclaiming “I’ve found this great new show!” when they’ve been in fact watching it for ages. It’s not like we’ve been sleeping on these things, it’s just that there is definitely a pop-culture trickle down effect at work; especially with some of the more ‘how you say’ off the beaten path creations. Even with the internet, something needs to take foot locally before it can go global. Every new show needs to take some time to establish itself and find its audience, but hopefully like all good things, the cream will rise to the top and eventually find its way to the ones who will appreciate it. Sometimes this can take many years, like in the case of Joss Whedon’s Firefly. The trickle down effect can be slow, but is actually perfect for the binge watcher (like myself); because by the time something comes across your radar, you have multiple seasons to sink your teeth into. This is almost a necessity in the case of some British programs whose seasons consist of very short runs of sometimes 3 to 6 shows. Enter Netflix or Youtube and there goes hours of your life.
So I’ve found this great new show, 2011 new. It’s called Black Mirror and to say it’s a little off the beaten path would be an understatement. The best way I’ve heard it described would be a modern day Twilight Zone exploring the perils of the digital age. There are currently 7 episodes in total over 3 seasons. Each episode is a stand alone story clocking in around 50 minutes. The black mirror refers to any blank monitor we encounter on a daily basis and the deep dark ramifications our relationship with it can conjure up. Each episode plays with different aspects of what the future may hold if we took current technologies to their ultimate endgames. The power of Social media is explored to great and disturbing effect in the series opener The National Anthem. At this point I’d like to point out that some episodes are stronger than others, but at least every one offers a ‘what if’ scenario that both engages and gives you chills in equal measures. A good example would be the episode, The Entire History of You at the end of season 1 which deals with the premise of: what if we all had little devices implanted in our skulls that recorded everything we experienced and could replay them at anytime we liked? How would that effect our relationships with others? Black Mirror has a way of pulling back the curtain of innovation and revealing the potential dark consequences. Season 2 continues along the same lines and devilishly explores the themes of reality, voyeurism and identity to great effect.
Season 3 starts with Jon Hamm guest starring in the episode White Christmas (which just aired this past December, so I guess that means we have 2 more episodes of season 3 to look forward to.) Two men are stranded in a snowy cabin on Christmas day and slowly reveal to one another how they got there. As the name suggests Black Mirror is dark reflective stuff that feels like no other show on at the moment. If you are currently looking for your next binge; that black mirror you’re currently gazing at is just waiting for the trickle down. It could be your new favourite show.